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Kenya: The discovery of the biggest aquifer in Kenya

2013/09/12

The discovery of the biggest aquifer from presently on in Kenya's history could any minute at this time put an end to the drought residents of Northern Kenya experience perennially.

The aquifer discovered by UNESCO in Lotikipi of Turkana County is said to have the potential to grow Kenya's water reserves by about 10 % for the next 70 years at an abstraction rate of 1.2 billion cubic metres annually.

Scientists involved in the project say the discovery is even better in significance to the black gold discovered in Turkana a few years ago.

"UNESCO is proud to be a part of this significant finding, which clearly demonstrates how science and technology can contribute to industrialisation and economic increase, and to resolving real societal issues like access to water," UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Gretchen Kalonji said.

The Lotikipi aquifer is said to hold 200 billion cubic metres of fresh water replenished by underground streams and no one knows how much of a game-changer the aquifer is than the Turkana residents who have for decades spent their lives in the search for water.

"You have no idea what this means for out people. Next years of being marginalised, our fortunes have finally changed. Initial with oil and presently with fresh water better than the salt water of Lake Turkana," one resident testified.

Water Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu is congnisant of the benefit the discovery will have not only for the arid and semi-arid communities that surround the 4,164 Km2 aquifer, but for Kenya as a whole.

"Accessibility to water and improved socio-economic life is destined for development particularly for the majority vulnerable populations in Kenya; the displaced, the poor, women and children will presently have a additional viable access to water and from presently on a luck at a better life," she said.

The government, she revealed, is presently working toward getting the water out of the ground and into the hands and mouths of those who need it desperately, "it should be ready for use in the next one to two months."

A smaller aquifer, one of five ear-marked for exploration in Northern Kenya, was as well discovered in Lodwar and should contribute 10 billion cubic metres to Kenya's water supply.

The government is presently as well looking to roll-out the Japanese funded project nationwide at a cost of Sh1.5 billion using the satellite, radar and geological technology that was used to find water 300 metres underground in the Lotikipi plains.

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